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Tanám

1 Bow Market Way

Somerville, MA 02143

If you’re put off by communal seating and restaurants that make you go outside to go the bathroom, don’t bother coming to Tanam. But if you want amazing Filipino food served to you directly by the chef who made it who also gives you a personal history of each dish, then head to this tiny spot in Bow Market. There’s not much by way of decor, but that’s kind of appropriate because you won’t want anything to take your attention away from the oxtail or brussels sprouts with lychee and crab. Come here for either a great five-course tasting meal for $90 (Fri-Sun), a $70 communal meal tossed on banana leaves (Wednesdays), or a more casual bar night when you can order drinks and bites a la carte (Thursdays).

If you want to eat at a great restaurant before everyone else knows its name - or, frankly, before it’s even a real restaurant - head to Tanam, a 10-seat table in Union Square’s Bow Market. On most nights, it’s a ticketed dining experience, so for $90 you’ll feel like you have a personal chef as you make your way through five Filipino-inspired courses, and get the background on each one. For something a little cheaper, Wednesdays are reserved for a giant $70 meal that’s tossed onto a banana leaf-covered table, and Thursday is bar night, where the table is raised and the menu is taken over by snacks and small plates. Either way, you’ll get things like braised oxtail, sweet coconut rice cakes, and lychee and crab brussels sprouts, and you’ll love it. Eventually, Tanam will grow out of the small walk-in closet of a room that it currently occupies, so come here now and say you knew about it way back when.

Eating at Bow Market’s Tanam sort of feels like eating in a shipping container, since there’s only a single table in a rectangular room and you have to go outside and cross a courtyard if you want to go to the bathroom. But we would gladly spend months sleeping in a bunk and singing sea shanties if it meant having an all-access pass to Filippino food this good. On weekend nights you pay $90 for a ticketed meal that features things like braised oxtail, sweet coconut rice cakes, and lychee-crab brussels sprouts. But you can also just get bites and cocktails on Thursday nights, or pay $70 on Wednesday for a group meal served on top of banana leaves.

Yet another tiny little Bow Market spot we’re really excited about, Tanam serves Filipino food.

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